The Federal Government has banned American microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, from operating in Nigeria, following the company’s removal of President Muhammad Buhari’s tweets and videos from its platform earlier in the week.
It said that decisions to place a suspension on operations of the social networking service across the country were reached after it became obvious that the platform was been used to portray the government badly.
As gathered, the apex government actions were taken after the president’s tweet and videos on Nigeria’s Civil War posted on his official Twitter handle were pulled down by the microblogging company after receiving petitions from other users that requested the comment and videos be deleted considering negative effects it was having on them.
Announcing the ban on operations, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, alleged that the foreign firm has allowed its platform to be used for activities that were capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Muhammed, in a statement released on Friday by Special Assistant to the President on Media, Segun Adeyemi, which was also published on the government’s Twitter account, stressed that the government, who had been appealing to foreign investors to set up offices in Nigeria, took the decision basically to protect sovereignty of the country.
The Minister, meanwhile, disclosed that the central government has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all online and social media operations across the country.
It would be recalled that the president had in series of tweets wrote “many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand”.
Earlier after the tweets were deleted, Mohammed accused the social media company of been biased, saying Twitter was playing double standards on domestic issues in Nigeria and urged that they steer clear and be neutral.
He said it was saddening that the company ignored inciting tweets by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and his cohorts looked away during ENDSARS protest but found the president’s tweets offensive.
“Twitter may have its own rules; it’s not the universal rule. If Mr. President, anywhere in the world feels very bad and concern about a situation, he is free to express such views. Now, we should stop comparing apples with oranges. If an organisation is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed.
“Two, any organisation that gives directives to its members, to attack police stations, to kill policemen, to attack correctional centers, to kill warders, and you are now saying that Mr. President does not have the right to express his dismay and anger about that? We are the ones guilty of double standards.
“I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed. By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with,” he said.